Last gripe of the Proms: TV lights and intrusive 'bouncing' cameras

Their cries of dismay have reinstated "Rule Britannia" and forced the owners of the Royal Albert Hall to ventilate its stifling auditorium. Now supporters of the Proms have found a fresh source of disharmony: TV cameras.

In a forthright exchange of views on the BBC website, regular Prom-goers have condemned the corporation for its increasingly "intrusive" television coverage of the summer concert season.

Top of their list of gripes is what they describe as the producers' obsession with "sexy close-ups of the soloist's chin and the piccolo player's hairdo". It is closely followed by complaints about "bouncing" cameras, "slapping" cables and hotspots caused by overhead lighting.

"If they contented themselves with giving a good general view of the stage it would save a lot of trouble, and get rid of that annoying camera in the pit between the arena and the stage," says Stephen Howard-Smith.

Another Prom-goer, Lee McLernon, recalls how his enjoyment of a performance was disrupted when the "man who sits at the end of the 'railway tracks' to feed out the cable to the cameraman let the cable slip a couple of times which resulted in a 'thud'."

Stephen Clark writes: "The Beeb say they work to make the coverage as unobtrusive as possible, yet we still end up baking under TV lights and having a camera between the arena audience and the stage, running back and forth and bouncing up and down."

One concert-goer, John Coole, says that he finds the filming of the Proms so intrusive he has stopped attending any that are televised.

While the vast majority of complaints focus on the BBC's coverage, some are reserved for more trifling distractions. Philip Trueman laments: "I was in the middle of the second row for Gurrelieder last night; the cameras were okay but there was a chap next to me intermittently fanning himself. A rhythmical distraction is bad but rhythmical visual distraction is torture."

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